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Thursday, January 27, 2005
Updated: January 28, 1:01 PM ET
Ultimate Super Bowl showdown

By Jeff Merron and David Schoenfield
Page 2

These guys are the superiest of the Super, the players who shined the most on Super Sunday. We've watched every Super Bowl tape several times, checked all the stats, stayed up all night watching the NFL Films highlights, re-checked the stats, and then made our decisions.

It's the all-time Super Bowl teams for the AFC (picked by Jeff) and NFC (picked by Dave). Sometimes one great game is good enough to make our squads; more often, it took several great games to make it.

Which team would win this ultimate Super showdown? Check out the SportsNation debate.

AFC OFFENSE
Pos. Player Team Comment
QB Terry Bradshaw Steelers MVP in 1978 and 1979, has third-highest passer rating in SB history (112); four rings.
RB Terrell Davis Broncos Leading rusher in SB XXXIII (25 carries for 102 yards), MVP in SB XXXII (30 for 157 and 3 TDs).
RB Larry Csonka Dolphins Played in three consecutive SBs; totalled 57 rushes for 297 yards, an average of 5.2 yards per carry; MVP in SBVIII, running 33 times for 145 yards and 2 TDs.
WR Lynn Swann Steelers Caught 16 passes for 364 yards and 3 TD in three SB starts (didn't start, didn't catch a pass in SB IX); MVP of SB X; spectacular catches galore.
WR John Stallworth Steelers 11/268/3 TDs in four SBs; in SBs XIII and XIV, caught six passes for spectacular 236 yards, averaging 39 yards per catch.
TE Dave Casper Raiders The HOFer played great game in Oakland's 32-14 win in SB XI, catching 4 passes for 70 yards and one TD. One of best blocking tight ends of all time, was key in opening holes for Raiders' 266 yards on the ground.
T Art Shell Raiders Legendarily destroyed the Vikings in Super Bowl XI.
T Tony Jones Broncos Pro Bowler played right tackle in SB XXXII, on line that cleared way for Davis' 157 rushing yards; played left tackle in SB XXXIII as Broncos racked up 34 points in second straight win.
G Larry Little Dolphins HOFer was outstanding blocker during Dolphins' perfect season. How good was Miami's O-line? Bob Griese threw just 19 passes combined in back-to-back Super Bowl wins, while team ran the ball 90 times.
G Gene Upshaw Raiders HOFer, perennial All-Pro, started in SBs II, XI, and XV; two rings.
C Mike Webster Steelers Heart and soul of the Steelers for so many years.
K Adam Vinatieri Patriots Mr. Clutch.
KR Fulton Walker Dolphins AFC's leading returner in 1983 was first to return kick for TD, going 98 yards against Redskins in SB XVII. In two SBs, returned eight for SB-record 283 yards.

 

AFC DEFENSE
Pos. Player Team Comment
DE L.C. Greenwood Steelers Started in four Super Bowls, batting down three Fran Tarkenton passes in SB IX and recording three sacks in SB X.
DE Lyle Alzado Broncos, Raiders Two sacks in SB XII for the Broncos, key part of Raiders D that held Redskins to only nine points in SB XVIII.
DT Manny Fernandez Dolphins Made 11 tackles when Miami's defense shut out the Redskins' offense in SB VII, and in SB VIII anchored a defense that held Minnesota to only one TD.
DT Joe Greene Steelers Four SBs, four wins, Greene especially shined in SB IX, intercepting one pass and recovering a fumble at the Steelers' 5 as Pittsburgh held the Vikings to just 119 total yards.
LB Rod Martin Raiders Ron Jaworski still has nightmares: 3 INTs in 27-10 win over Eagles.
LB Jack Lambert Steelers HOFer played in all four Steelers SB wins in the 1970s.
LB Ray Lewis Ravens SB XXXV MVP, but no Disney World; defensed four passes and made five tackles.
CB Mel Blount Steelers Another member of Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain D and four-ring team.
CB Willie Brown Raiders HOFer played in SBs II and XI, returning an INT for a 75-yard TD in the Raiders' win over the Vikings.
S Jake Scott Dolphins MVP, SB VIII, with two INTs in that game; three SBs, two rings.
S Mike Wagner Steelers Two-time Pro Bowler made crucial INTs in SBs IX and X.
P Ray Guy Raiders Punted 14 times in three SBs, averaging 41.9 yards a kick; two rings; no punters are in the HOF, but Guy should be.

 

NFC OFFENSE
Pos. Player Team Comment
QB Joe Montana 49ers Four SBs, three MVPs; threw for 157, 331, 357 and 297 yards; our favorite stat: 11 TDs, no INTs; oh, he ran for two TDs as well.
RB Emmitt Smith Cowboys MVP of SB XXVIII; in three SBs, ran for 297 yards and five TDs.
RB Roger Craig 49ers In three SB wins, the versatile back had 135, 175 and 103 combined rushing/receiving yards; scored three TDs in SB XIX against Dolphins.
WR Jerry Rice 49ers, Raiders The easiest selection on the board; check out his totals in his four SBs (three wins): 11/215/1; 7/148/3; 10/149/3; 5/77/1; yes, that's eight TDs.
WR Antonio Freeman Packers In two SBs, went over 100 yards both times and caught three TDs.
TE Jay Novacek Cowboys Caught 23 passes in three games (all wins), and scored the Cowboys' first TD in SBs XXVII and XXX.
T Joe Jacoby Redskins The four-time Pro Bowler anchored the "Hogs" for four SB teams, including three wins.
T Forrest Gregg Packers Bart Starr was the MVP of the first two SBs, but HOFer Gregg led a running attack that gained 133 and 160 yards in the two games.
G Randy Cross 49ers Started twice at guard and once at center on three winning SB teams.
G Nate Newton Cowboys Somebody was paving the way for Emmitt Smith, and the sight of the huge Newton pulling on a sweep scared more than a few defenders.
C Bart Oates Giants, 49ers The five-time Pro Bowler started for three SB winners, all of which gained 130+ yards on the ground.
K Ray Wersching 49ers Could have been MVP of SB XVI instead of Montana: 4-for-4 FGs and two trick squib kickoffs which caused two Bengals fumbles (one recovered by the Niners).
KR Desmond Howard Packers MVP of SB XXXI with a 99-yard kickoff return that gave Green Bay a 35-21 lead; finished with 244 total return yards.

 

NFC DEFENSE
Pos. Player Team Comment
DE Richard Dent Bears MVP of SB XX with 1 1/2 sacks and two forced fumbles.
DE Charles Haley 49ers, Cowboys Reggie White was great for Packers, but only Haley has played on five Super Bowl winners.
DT Randy White Cowboys Co-MVP of SB XII (with fellow lineman Harvey Martin), as Cowboys harassed Broncos into 8-for-25 passing.
LB Chuck Howley Cowboys Yes, the NFC is going with a 3-4 defense; the only MVP from a losing team, Howley had two picks and a fumble recovery in SB V; the next year, had a pick and fumble recovery -- and Dallas won.
LB Jack Reynolds Rams, 49ers Played in three SBs (two wins), but it was his two goal-line tackles on Pete Johnson, Cincy's huge fullback, in SF's famous goal-line stand in SB XVI that cements his spot.
LB Wilber Marshall Bears, Redskins Better known as part of the Bears' great D of '85, his performance in SB XXVI for Washington against Buffalo may have been best defensive performance in SB history: 11 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, one pass defensed.
LB Carl Banks Giants Not as heralded as LT, but was all over the field in Giants' two SB wins, especially XXI over Denver.
CB Eric Wright 49ers A member of all four of San Fran's SB wins in the '80s, Wright helped shut down Dan Marino in XIX and caused a key fumble in SB XVI.
CB Herb Adderly Packers, Cowboys The HOFer helped quiet the explosive passing games of the Chiefs and Raiders in the first two Super Bowls (returning one INT for a TD) and then joined Dallas for another SB win.
S Ronnie Lott 49ers Lott started twice at CB and twice at S in his four SB wins, but it was big hits from the safety spot that we remember.
S Darren Woodson Cowboys Tampa Bay's Dexter Jackson was an MVP, but Woodson was huge in all three of Dallas' SB wins in the '90s.
P Sean Landeta Giants Punted seven times in two SB wins for 44.7 average and only one was returned (for nine yards).